For Rich Turley, owning a winery is more than just a business. Colorado Cellars, located at 3553 E Road in Palisade, is also his home.
Rich, along with his wife, Padte, have owed the winery since 1990. Colorado Cellars originally opened in 1978 with 12 investors from around the country. Rich believes it to be the oldest winery and commercial vineyard in Colorado.
The Turleys currently sell 27 different wines. The latest wine introduced is an “orange moscato.”
“The wine has to be good, have value and not be over priced,” Rich explained. “We make products at prices customers want.”
Bottles range from $14-$30 depending on style. Colorado Cellars’ most popular wines include fruit wines, Rieslings and a spiced mead. Free samples are available in the tasting room Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The tasting room also serves several wine-based food products like salsas, jams and jellies.
“This is what we do for a living,” Rich said. “We don’t have second jobs like a lot of other winery owners do. To us, it’s a way of life and the only thing we do. The key to success is that we have to make money to feed the kids.”
Rich has a long history with Colorado Cellars. He started as its distribution manager when he was 24 years old in 1978. Eventually the original partners sold their shares leaving Bennett Price (now owner of DeBeque Canon Winery), as the last owner. Over the years, his wife Padte became the wine maker, and two sons helped out until they grew up and moved out on their own.
“It’s an awesome job,” Padte said. “I do different things each season with the grapes. It’s all subject to what happens with the sun and rain. Nothing is ever the same.”
According to the Turleys, Colorado Cellars currently employs four full-time and one part-time employee, plus seasonal workers during harvest time. It also produces, bottles and distributes its wine “in house.”
“It gives retailers an access to us directly,” Rich said. “Plus, it cuts out the middle man and helps with pricing.”
The winery has a fermentation and storage capacity of more than 75,000 gallons with annual production of around 20,000 cases of wine, totalling around 360,000 bottles of wine.
“We love what we do,” Padte said. “We are here every day, and we want you to come to our house and try some new wines. We are personable, listen to what customers want and, if available, we make it happen.”
For more information, visit www.coloradocellars.com.